Torah Tidbits

Do Not Remain Indifferent!

Shabbat Parashat Ki Tetse

August 29, 2015 – 14 Elul 5775 headshot white 2015cropped

Dear Friends,

Dangerous situations, it would seem, are a very real part of our lives. This past week, four American heroes, along with others, saved the day! On a train traveling the Amsterdam-Paris route, the heroes took action. They overcome a heavily armed man readying himself to harm innocent people riding on the train.

Immediately, the public discussion turned to questions of how much time, effort and resources should or should not be spent on safety and security on trains in Europe and in the United States. Debating the question of whether it would be possible and/or practical to secure rail travel in Europe one hundred percent, safety concerns were weighed as against convenience and as against economic realities.

Later in the week, a local reporter and cameraman were both shot and killed while conducting an interview on the air. This time no one present was able to save the day.

Our Torah portion begins with the words: Ki Tetse [When you go out]. Interestingly, the verb “tetze” in this week’s Torah portion, and elsewhere in the Torah, is associated with times when we venture out into a variety of areas of life that may be fraught with danger.

The Torah’s message is clear. While safety is a value, as is the preservation of life, we are not guaranteed airtight security in life even if we assiduously follow all the precepts of the Torah. What Torah does offer us is guidance for living a good life, even when we venture out of the safety of our homes and communities. Torah offers us insight into the moral and spiritual challenges of life, so that we may find meaning and purpose in life, well beyond our attention to the preservation of our physical safety and security. Our Torah portion also teaches us: “Lo tuchal l’hit’alem” [You must not remain indifferent] (Deut. 22:3). We are taught to open our eyes to the moral and spiritual challenges of life and to do our best to address them, that we may live a life of safety, but also of spiritual blessing and of joy. Let us not remain indifferent. Let us come together and take meaningful action to make our world a better place!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror